All posts filed under: Editorial

The Best of 2016

It has been something of a slow production year here at the Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia. Dissertation writing, conference travel and website development have taken some time away from producing new content. Yet we did have a chance to be a part of Perhat Khaliq’s first visit to the United States. And over the past year we have published a few new pieces, including a long-form photo essay on the work of the Xinjiang-based Han Buddhist photographer Tian Lin and an in-depth essay on the way Uyghur young people are using  social media to critique government elites and ostentatious displays of wealth. Both of these two projects were two of our top five pieces in 2016. Below is a list of our top five most popular posts for the past year. Thanks as always for reading! 1. Ms. Munirä’s Wedding Gifts: Trolling Uyghur Elite Society Back in April 2016 the daughter of a well-to-do Uyghur border official in Kashgar, a woman known now simply as Ms. Munirä, got married. Like many weddings of wealthy Uyghurs, it …

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Introducing Living Otherwise

Changes are in store for the Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia thanks to a generous fellowship from the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington. Not only have we moved from Beige Wind to a new site called Living Otherwise and transformed it into magazine-style repository, but we are also developing some new exciting larger-scale projects that highlight the arts and changing cultural systems of the city of Ürümchi and Northwest China more broadly. Over the next year we will be bringing you more long-form essays, such as the recently published piece “Ms. Munirä’s Wedding Gifts,” as well as interactive mapping projects and virtual exhibitions of Xinjiang arts and politics. The first of these larger scale projects is a multilinear photo essay titled “Living Otherwise: Buddhist Photography on the New Silk Road.” The project tells the story of Tian Lin, a Han settler and former monk, who has developed a meditative photo practice among Uyghur squatters in the city of Ürümchi and through this become a major figure in Xinjiang arts scene. …

Year in Review: Most Overlooked in 2015

Last week we wrote about our most popular posts written in 2015. But what about pieces from the ALCCA archive that deserved more attention then they received over the past year? For all of you readers who are new to The Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia, here is a list of our most overlooked pieces in 2015. Abdulla, King of Uyghur Pop: His Themes Although much can be said about the way Abdulla’s poetic voice corresponds with his deep literacy in Uyghur culture, clearly he does much more than lean on the traditions of the past.  Although this attention to cultural symbolism and spiritual ritual are an important aspect of his public persona, Abdulla is also deeply engaged in the everyday life of increasingly urban Northwest China. In order to understand the depth of his appeal, here we outline the themes which emerge from his catalog and analyze one of these themes. What It Means To Be A Uyghur Man Watching the leaked surveillance video of two men walking with a sea of …

Best of the Art of Life in Chinese Central Asia from 2015

Over the past year we have continued write about the ways in which the people who live in Chinese Central Asia find ways to tell their stories and create meaning in their lives. Despite the precariousness of life under Xi Jinping’s “People’s War on Terror,” there have been many new developments in contemporary art, film and photography. At the same time Uyghurs have continued to draw on their traditions to find strength and meaning in the present in Xinjiang and around the world. Thank you to all of you for your continued support and readership! New Uyghur Interior Design and the Art of Dilmurat Abdukadir As social scientists since Pierre Bourdieu have noted, people with disposable incomes purchase forms of distinction by cultivating a sense of taste in what they consume. Middle class Uyghurs perform their distinctiveness as high-class Uyghurs by eating Uyghur-style Turkish food in uniquely non-Chinese spaces. They go to these restaurants to be seen by other Uyghurs. In an iteration of capitalist development around the world, new upscale restaurants are becoming sites …